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The Maastricht Marathon June 7, 2012

Posted by yvonneploder in Travel Log.
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As the end of week two rolls around here in Brussels, my professor decided to take us to the city of Maastricht on accord that the Maastricht Treaty was signed there. How appropriate. What the Maastricht Treaty did for the European Union was create the Euro and also the three pillar system…fascinating, I know. Witnessing the actual location of the signing of such a monumental moment in the history of the European Union however, was not what took my breath away. I can attribute the shortage of breath to our lovely tour guide, Pierre.

Now Pierre is an incredibly brilliant Brit earned his PhD in some sort of international affairs concentration from Oxford (forgive me for the lack of details) and all 150 pounds of him could out whit and out run any of us techies any day. I mean that literally. Pierre was determined to show us ALL of Maastricht in a total of 2.5 hours before he had to hop on the 2pm train back to Brussels where he was then taking the Tube to London for the weekend. Thus, we were led on a sprinting tour of the city. Old Maastricht and New Maastricht: we saw it all; the small canals, the random zoo, outdoor markets, cathedrals, hidden gardens, the university, the university library, his office, the shopping district, it goes on and on. The worst part was that everything was adorable and we, being the tourists that we are, simply had to photograph everything. But by the time you snapped your photo there were dwindling leaves in the spot were Pierre just stood and you would see the wisps of his jacket turning about the next corner. 

Even though the tour was quite exhausting Pierre did manage to give us a complete tour of the city and as we discussed during our well deserved lunch, we loved it! Maastricht really is a glorious college town where any person would be more than happy to live. With adorable nooks, delicious ice cream parlors, and a prestigious university it may just be the perfect spot to earn a masters degree.  



Herman and Cathy, Barry and Hil June 26, 2010

Posted by gtpspdirector in Travel Log.
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The Group at NATO

Wow. The past three weeks have been something of a whirlwind, having traveled to at least seven cities, being exposed to three languages, and watching the USA pull out a literal last minute victory over Algeria (for which I will be billing USA Soccer for the 5 years of my life I lost).

I’ve been in Paris for a week, but I’m going to focus on my site visits in Brussels to all of the EU institutions.

In short, the EU is made up of four main institutions. They are the Commission, the Council, the Parliament, and the European Court of Justice roughly analogous to our Executive Branch, Senate, House of Representatives, and Judiciary. We visited the first three along with several think tanks and other organizations including NATO and SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe).

Much of the conversation at these places was driven by the topic of the four people named in this post. Herman von Rumpuy is the new president of the European Council, Lady Catherine Ashton is the new High Representative for Common and Security Policy, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are well known to us all. (more…)

Two Weeks in the Heart of Europe June 4, 2010

Posted by eranmordel in Travel Log.
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It is quite hard to believe that I’ve been in Europe for a little over two weeks! To think that I’m taking a semester of classes while traveling is a little mind-wrenching. I came here with no clue what to expect, and now I feel that even 11 weeks are not near enough to scale Europe — there is so much to see and do.

The real benefit of the program, beyond studying/living in a new environment and seeing Europe firsthand, is the people I meet and the depth of which I acquaint with them. Georgia Tech Lorraine provides the perfect balance of platforming an entire new mentality [of Europe] and keeping the comfort zone of Georgia Tech. I appreciate those I meet in restaurants, hostels, festivals, etc. and absolutely value my new/old friends with whom I travel.

That said, my classes thus far have been… well, they have been classes at Georgia Tech. It is nearly the same as in Atlanta, but my professors are much more reasonable about the timing of homework, tests, and class material — they take a personal interest in their students’ traveling schedules, which is quite refreshing and convenient. We work hard during the week and do not waste much time, take our homework on the [endless] train rides, and then have the weekend to relax and spend anywhere in Europe doing anything we’d like. Anywhere in Europe, anything we’d like. (more…)